Free Subscription

  • Access 15 free news articles each month


Try one month for $9.95
  • Unlimited access to news,insights and opinions
  • Quarterly and weekly magazines
  • Independent research reports and forecasts
  • Quarterly webinars with industry experts
  • Q&A with retail leaders
  • Career advice
  • 10% discount on events

The faux discounter

markdowns, sale, discountWhy this dated and deceitful form of retailing still exists in the 21st century beggars belief.

Even more astounding is the grim determination by which these deluded retailers presuppose their strategy when clearly the punter does not. The dubious inflating of prices in order to offer greater discounts is brazenly obvious, yet the retail emperors continue to strut their stuff in public dressed only in their underwear. Where are they up to now – seventy percent off ? Really? Every week?

Do the maths. Adding to this farce is the failure of governing bodies to acknowledge the habitude is misleading if not outright illegal.

The public is not fooled, they are well aware of the manipulation and trickery and it is now reflecting in Financials. With plunging profits, despite the miscellany of rationalisation offered, fundamental change and self-reflection is imperative. Not least of all the discount pricing strategy.

A deepening crisis of cannibalisation is evident when the only growth reported is online and the draw-card to visit brick and mortar is severed. The latest notion of charging the public a significant fee for a click and collect transaction will soon eradicate that ‘hike’.

By contrast the genuine discounters offer the best price possible without forcing the public to jump through hoops, read the small print disclaimer or deduce the prevailing conditions. They eradicate the mistrust of ‘normal’ priced goods and avoid the cherry picking behaviours of clientele holding out for the discount cycle to reach the desired merchandise. There is no confusion or need for computation. Who has the time or inclination to work out the price of a product. ’60 per cent off $8.50, buy one and get 35 per cent off the second…easier to just walk away.

The bona fide discounter understands that integrity and conscious business are burgeoning triggers and key influences as to where the end-user patronises via the age-old avenue of perception. This is conveyed through consistency of price, the relevance of product and on-trend mindfulness. Keeping it simple and staying in touch with those who matter. The ever-changing and fickle public.

If the size of the discount drives sales, then the inevitable 105 per cent looms where purchases are bought. Any fool can give it away. Discount branding is a tightrope that very few do well and even less should partake.

Courage and commitment to change is imperative and an emotional intelligence capability to ensure Retail is about people, for people, by people.

Dave Farrell is a retailer with three decades of experience on three continents. He can be reached at

Access exclusive analysis, locked news and reports with Inside Retail Weekly. Subscribe today and get our premium print publication delivered to your door every week.

You have 7 free articles.